Ben Barba knows how important pre-season is for him to hit the ground running in 2018.
The star fullback showed glimpses of what he is about at the back end of Saints’ campaign – and now is ready to kick on for more.
“It’s all about getting in condition to be right to play,” he said. “I have done a few pre-seasons now and know what it takes. I’ve done all mine in 30 degree weather in Australia though so I don’t know what to expect with this one!
“It will be strange as there are 11 guys that won’t be here because they are at the World Cup. But I know it will be tough. There are times during those training sessions when you question why you put yourself through it but it is worth it at the end of the day.
“If you put the work in early in the off-season then it isn’t as difficult. If you let yourself go a little in the break then you will fall behind some of the other guys. I’m looking forward to it. I’m pleased I’m getting a pre-season in St Helens colours and glad the season starts in February.
“Pre-season is important for me. I have always played by best rugby when I’ve had a good pre-season and focused hard on training. I have worked out what I need to do to get into peak fitness. I want to do it and when February comes I can’t wait to show the St Helens fans what I can really do.”
Barba was a much heralded signing when he joined the club in 2017 but fans had to wait until the end of the year to see him in action.
He admits he felt pressure early on but now is fully part of Justin Holbrook’s squad.
He continues: “There was a bit of pressure being a ‘marquee’ player when I first joined the club but now I don’t feel any more important than any of the other guys in the side.
“Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival and all the young guys coming through; you don’t win comps with just one player.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are, you need a good 16 other guys around you to take to the field each week. I don’t feel any sort of pressure being the ‘marquee’ player. With so many great players in the side, it’s easy.”
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